This husky puppy doesn’t understand how dog doors work. He wants to leave it open so he can stick his head through. The only problem is that it's winter outside!
This husky puppy doesn’t understand how dog doors work. He wants to leave it open so he can stick his head through. The only problem is that it's winter outside!
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The Greater Sudbury Police Service Explosive Disposal Unit has removed improvised explosive devices from the scene of a Gore Bay shooting that claimed the lives of an OPP officer and a civilian on Nov. 19. “The (Explosive Disposal Unit) is assisting in ensuring the scene is safe as there were IEDs located at the scene,” said Kaitlyn Dunn, the corporate communications officer for Greater Sudbury Police. “Members of our (unit) are taking the necessary precautions to ensure officer safety and community safety.” Police were called to a property on Hindman Trail in Gore Bay on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 19, to investigate a complaint about the presence of an unwanted man. Soon after arriving, police located the man in a trailer. After a short interaction, there was an exchange of gunfire. OPP Const. Marc Hovingh and a 60-year-old man later identified as Gary Brohman were both struck. Both men were transported to the hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries. Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, invoked its mandate and is investigating the incident. Greater Sudbury Police is also assisting with the investigation. The SIU is now actively investigating two separate incidents that occurred on Manitoulin Island following the death of a 43-year-old man by a gunshot wound in Little Current on Nov. 27. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStarColleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Le 1er décembre fut la 33 journée mondiale de lutte contre le sida, et l’organisme MAINS BSL a voulu souligner en cette journée qu’il est toujours possible de mettre fin à l’épidémie de VIH/sida d’ici 2030, du moment où l’ensemble de la société se mobilise à cette fin, tout comme elle le fait pour enrayer la pandémie de COVID-19. Même si cette pandémie mondiale a exposé de multiples failles dans notre société et a été connue comme source d’isolement, de détresse et même de stigmatisation, elle est également le moteur d’une mobilisation sans pareil. Le combat contre le nouveau coronavirus est devenu logiquement le leitmotiv de l’ensemble de la société québécoise. Pour appuyer cela, MAINS BSL fait référence aux points de presse journaliers du gouvernement, aux sommes d’argent investies pour enrayer la contagion, soigner les personnes infectées et créer un potentiel vaccin, et à la réponse positive de la majorité de la population aux mesures restrictives imposées. À cela, l’organisme MAINS BSL ne peut s’empêcher de tracer des parallèles entre la pandémie de COVID-19 et celle du VIH/sida. Les iniquités mises en lumière par la pandémie de COVID-19 sont aussi celles que le milieu VIH combat depuis des décennies : lutte contre les iniquités qu’engendrent le sexisme, l’hétérosexisme, la pauvreté et le racisme – ces iniquités qui, dans le contexte du VIH, fragilisent l’accès au dépistage, aux soins et aux traitements. La mobilisation a été forte dans les premières décennies de la lutte contre le VIH/sida, et elle a permis de grandes avancées scientifiques et sociales. Malheureusement, cette mobilisation s’est effritée avec le temps, selon les dires de MAINS BSL, faisant en sorte que, dans les pays occidentaux, un plateau a été atteint où le taux annuel de nouvelles infections stagne. Voilà pourquoi en cette journée de lutte contre le sida, MAINS BSL a invité les gouvernements de tous les paliers à se remobiliser et à réinvestir adéquatement dans la lutte, dans l’idée d’y mettre fin d’ici 2030. « En ces temps de COVID-19, nous voyons très bien que la mobilisation et l’investissement en temps et en ressources humaines et financières dans la lutte contre une pandémie portent fruit », ont-ils expliqué. Il serait donc important d’y assurer les ressources nécessaires pour garantir un accès universel au dépistage, aux soins et aux traitements.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Wed. Dec. 2, 2020.There are 383,468 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 383,468 confirmed cases (66,369 active, 304,888 resolved, 12,211 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 5,329 new cases Tuesday from 97,680 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.5 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 41,024 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,861.There were 81 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 593 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 85. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.49 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,573,322 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 339 confirmed cases (33 active, 302 resolved, four deaths).There was one new case Tuesday from 324 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.31 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 16 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 62,844 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed cases (four active, 68 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 760 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 60,683 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,315 confirmed cases (142 active, 1,108 resolved, 65 deaths).There were 10 new cases Tuesday from 3,165 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.32 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 88 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 13.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 146,919 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 508 confirmed cases (116 active, 385 resolved, seven deaths).There were seven new cases Tuesday from 1,065 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.66 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 58 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 101,550 tests completed._ Quebec: 143,548 confirmed cases (12,264 active, 124,200 resolved, 7,084 deaths).There were 1,177 new cases Tuesday from 8,376 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 14 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,218 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,317.There were 28 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 197 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 83.49 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,194,452 tests completed._ Ontario: 118,199 confirmed cases (14,524 active, 100,012 resolved, 3,663 deaths).There were 1,707 new cases Tuesday from 33,508 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.1 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11,689 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,670.There were seven new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 144 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 21. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,103,234 tests completed._ Manitoba: 17,107 confirmed cases (9,066 active, 7,713 resolved, 328 deaths).There were 282 new cases Tuesday from 2,201 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,549 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 364.There were 16 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 80 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.83 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.95 per 100,000 people. There have been 349,309 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 8,745 confirmed cases (3,819 active, 4,875 resolved, 51 deaths).There were 181 new cases Tuesday from 1,444 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,862 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 266.There were four new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 4.34 per 100,000 people. There have been 262,262 tests completed._ Alberta: 59,484 confirmed cases (16,628 active, 42,305 resolved, 551 deaths).There were 1,307 new cases Tuesday from 27,600 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.7 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,948 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,421.There were 10 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 59 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 12.6 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,473,584 tests completed._ British Columbia: 33,894 confirmed cases (9,663 active, 23,774 resolved, 457 deaths).There were 656 new cases Tuesday from 18,967 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.5 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,546 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 792.There were 16 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 99 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 14. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.28 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 9.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 802,376 tests completed._ Yukon: 47 confirmed cases (17 active, 29 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 170 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,336 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 42 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 6,397 tests completed._ Nunavut: 182 confirmed cases (93 active, 89 resolved, zero deaths).There was one new case Tuesday from 58 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.7 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 38 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,300 tests completed.This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam have been sentenced to jail on charges related to an unauthorized anti-government protest last year at the city’s police headquarters. Wong, who pleaded guilty to organizing and participating in the protest, received 13 1/2 months behind bars. Chow, who also pleaded guilty to participating in the protest and inciting others to take part, received 10 months, while Lam received 7 months after pleading guilty to incitement. The protest took place on June 21 last year, and saw thousands surround the police headquarters as they demonstrated against excessive force by police against protesters, as well as a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kick-start your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Dec. 2 ...What we are watching in Canada ...The Manitoba government has signed a pay agreement that will allow nurses to be shifted to priority areas in the fight against COVID-19. It says the agreement with the Manitoba Nurses Union will allow nurses to be redeployed in personal care homes, intensive care units and designated COVID-19 units. Health Minister Cameron Friesen says it will allow for changes to work assignments, locations, schedules and shifts to support the changing needs of hospital patients and care home residents. He says nurses affected by these changes, including those already working in facilities dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, will get extra pay. The agreement also establishes a COVID-19 northern allowance for staff redeployed to the north, as well as an allowance for current northern nurses who work in one community but pick up additional shifts elsewhere in the region. Union president Darlene Jackson says the deal will help keep nurses on the job and give them some security and recognition. ---Also this ...Nunavut's two-week lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to end today as the territory continues to see a drop in new cases. Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said earlier this week that schools, businesses and workplaces could reopen.Restrictions are to lift in all communities except Arviat, which has 76 active cases and will remain shut down for at least two more weeks. Patterson says that's because his team hasn't determined if community transmission there is ongoing.Nunavut had 93 active infections and 89 recovered cases on Tuesday for a total of 182. The territory had not had any cases at all until early November.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...Disputing U.S. President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block president-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...Pfizer and BioNTech say they've won permission Wednesday for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science -- and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.The move makes Britain one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population as it tries to curb Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.Other countries aren’t far behind: The U.S. and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer shot along with a similar vaccine made by competitor Moderna Inc.Pfizer said it would immediately begin shipping limited supplies to the U.K. -- and has been gearing up for even wider distribution if given a similar nod by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a decision expected as early as next week.But doses everywhere are scarce, and initial supplies will be rationed until more is manufactured in the first several months of next year.\---On this day in 2006 ...Liberal delegates chose Quebec MP Stephane Dion as their new federal leader at a Montreal convention.\---Holiday news ...The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association says people planning to buy a live Christmas tree this season should start shopping now and expect to pay more.Farmers anticipate 2020 will be a record sales year. Association head Larry Downey says it's simple supply and demand: a shortage of trees coupled with a greater appetite from people hoping to liven up their living spaces amid widespread stay-at-home orders.“Personally, we don’t see COVID affecting us,” says Downey, whose family farm in Hatley, Que. sells up to 30,000 Christmas trees each year.Most wholesale farmers Downey has spoken this year with have already reached sales records, he adds, with much of the demand coming from vendors in the United States. Retailers typically place their orders for trees as early as June, Downey says.The Christmas tree market is still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, which put many U.S. growers out of business and led others to reduce planting. Since saplings take eight to 10 years to reach the size of a typical Christmas tree, the effects of the lower supply have only recently emerged.In entertainment ...Experts believe the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies such as Netflix will go up under a taxation plan the government wants to put in place next year,Ottawa says in its fiscal update released Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, which it said would add up to $1.2 billion over five years.Sometimes labelled a "Netflix tax," the measure would also apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products such as software applications.The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it's only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same.KPMG tax partner Joe Micallef says it's likely Canadians will end up paying the taxes collected for the government by foreign multinationals."Right now, the way in which they're delivering their services, they're not responsible for the collection," Micallef says."And so, effectively, it would mean that these charges would be appearing on (their) invoices."Dwayne Winseck, a media industry researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, also expects companies will add the price of the tax to the total sale price.\---ICYMI ...The Oscar-nominated Canadian star of the film "Juno" has come out as transgender.The Halifax-raised Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, has made the announcement in a powerful post on social media.The star of the Toronto-shot Netflix series "The Umbrella Academy" says his preferred pronouns are he/they.Page's letter thanks those who have supported him along the journey, and addresses the trauma trans people face from discrimination, hateful acts, and a lack of rights.He says it feels remarkable "to finally love" who he is enough to pursue his "authentic self."And he's been "endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community.""Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society," Page says.."I also ask for patience. My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I'm scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes' and of violence."\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020The Canadian Press
Le conseil municipal a autorisé hier soir une dépense de 7,2 M$, taxes incluses, pour l’acquisition de 66 % du site du musée Armand-Frappier, situé au 520, boulevard des Prairies. Le terrain appartenant désormais à la municipalité correspond à «toute la bande riveraine», a indiqué le maire Marc Demers lors de l’assemblée. Le parc municipal que la Ville y aménagera donnera sur 320 mètres de berges en bordure de la rivière des Prairies. D’une superficie de 27 715 mètres carrés, cet espace public équivaut à 17 patinoires de la Ligue nationale de hockey, illustrait M. Demers dans un communiqué publié en fin de soirée. Avec la marina Le Commodore, dans Pont-Viau, le terrain boisé adjacent à la berge des Baigneurs, dans Sainte-Rose, et les deux grandes îles de l’archipel Saint-François, ce terrain en rive de Laval-des-Rapides porte à quatre le nombre d’acquisitions aux fins d’aménagement de parcs et d’espaces verts ou de conservation depuis le printemps. Maison des aînés Le parc riverain voisinera avec la première maison des aînés que le gouvernement Legault implantera sur le territoire lavallois. L’annonce avait été faite la veille par la ministre responsable des Aînés et des Proches aidants, Marguerite Blais. Il s’agira d’un complexe de huit bâtiments climatisés de 12 places chacun, totalisant 96 chambres individuelles. Un projet évalué à 52 M$, dont la mise en chantier n’a toutefois pas été précisée. L’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) a ainsi vendu le dernier tiers du terrain au ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux afin de répondre aux besoins du CISSS de Laval en matière d’hébergement. La transaction globale, qui s’est conclue le 18 novembre, s’élève à 15,34 M$. Le Ministère aurait donc payé 8,5 M$, avant taxes, pour 34 % du terrain, soit 1,66 M$ de plus que la Ville qui met la main sur un terrain deux fois plus grand, incluant le bâtiment patrimonial qui abrite le Musée. «Par la vente de ce terrain situé sur le campus de notre établissement de recherche universitaire, nous sommes heureux de contribuer à la réalisation des projets structurants de la Ville de Laval, du CISSS de Laval et du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux», a déclaré par communiqué le directeur général de l’INRS, Luc-Alain Giraldeau. L’administration Demers convoitait ce terrain depuis 2014, avait laissé savoir le maire à la séance du conseil de juillet 2018 lorsqu’un citoyen du secteur, Raymond Lamothe, était venu proposer à la Ville d’en faire l’acquisition. Même que les pourparlers entre la Municipalité et l’INRS étaient déjà engagés, précisait Marc Demers. M. Lamothe rêvait de ce parc riverain que le corridor vert piétonnier du boulevard Armand-Frappier relie au centre-ville. En octobre de la même année, le conseil municipal avait adopté à l’unanimité la proposition formulée par le conseiller de l’opposition officielle, Claude Larochelle, à l’effet d’entreprendre «des démarches urgentes auprès du propriétaire»… avant qu’un promoteur immobilier ne flaire la bonne affaire. L’espace vert sera baptisé du nom de Parc Armand-Frappier en l’honneur de ce pionnier de la recherche en microbiologie et de la médecine préventive au pays. Rappelons qu’en 1938, s’inspirant du modèle de l’Institut Pasteur, Dr Armand Frappier (1904-1991) fondait à Laval l'Institut de microbiologie et d'hygiène de l'Université de Montréal. Trente-quatre ans plus tard, en 1972, cette institution devenait une des constituantes de l'Université du Québec, puis un des quatre centres de recherche de l'Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) en 1999. C’est autour de l’Institut Armand-Frappier que se déployait en 1989 le Parc scientifique et de la haute technologie et, en 2001, la Cité de la biotechnologie et des sciences de la vie au Québec.Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Le Bloc québécois a défendu l’adoption du projet de loi C-216 pour la protection de la gestion de l’offre dans les futures négociations commerciales la semaine dernière. Le regroupement politique se réjouit donc d’apprendre que les producteurs concernés seront dédommagés pour les embûches créées par la mise en place des deux derniers accords de libre-échange. Le projet de loi C-216 du Bloc québécois vise à empêcher le gouvernement d’affaiblir la gestion de l’offre lorsqu’il conclut des ententes internationales avec ses partenaires. Et à la suite des pressions répétées des députés pour le versement de l’ensemble des compensations aux producteurs et aux transformateurs sous gestion de l’offre, la députée Michaud se dit soulagée que le gouvernement annonce enfin une partie de l’aide promise. En effet, la ministre Marie-Claude Bibeau a annoncé samedi qu’une certaine forme d’indemnité sera offerte à ces producteurs et transformateurs qui ont grandement été affectés par les brèches faites au système agricole québécois à travers les concessions des trois derniers accords commerciaux. En effet, ils recevront les reste des versements dus en trois ans. Kristina Michaud, qui prend le dossier à cœur, a pu s’entretenir avec le président des producteurs de lait du Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gabriel Belzile, à la suite de l’annonce. « Je représente une circonscription rurale où l’agriculture est extrêmement importante », a-t-elle expliqué. « J’ai rencontré de nombreux producteurs depuis mon élection il y a un peu plus d’un an et je sais à quel point cette nouvelle était attendue. Les producteurs de lait, œufs et volaille pourront enfin obtenir des indemnisations même si aucune compensation ne permettra de rétablir l’équilibre qui avait été acquis. » Mme Michaud renchérit que « c’est un bon pas, mais plusieurs détails restent à venir ». De plus, les transformateurs de l’ensemble des secteurs ont été complètement écartés par l’annonce d’Ottawa, sans compter qu’il n’y a toujours aucune compensation pour l’ACEUM (ancien ALENA). La députée craint que la promesse du gouvernement de n’accorder aucune autre concession dans de futurs accords ne soit encore que des paroles en l’air. « Pour véritablement tenir parole, le gouvernement et tous les partis d’opposition doivent adopter le projet de loi C-216 déposé par le Bloc Québécois. Ce sont des gestes concrets tels que celui-ci qui vont réellement protéger nos producteurs », a ajouté la bloquiste. En attendant, Kristina Michaud et ses collègues persisteront aux côtés des gens du milieu agricole pour qu’ils puissent obtenir « la juste part des compensations qui leur est due et qu’ils ne soient plus tributaires des futures ententes internationales », d’après les dires de la députée fédérale.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
NEW YORK — Rockin' around the Christmas tree is going to look different for visitors at Rockefeller Center this year, starting with Wednesday's tree lighting ceremony.What's normally a chaotic, crowded tourist hotspot during the holiday season will instead be a mask-mandated, time-limited, socially distanced locale due to the coronavirus pandemic.The tree, a 75-foot (23-meter) Norway spruce, is getting its holiday lights turned on in an event that will be broadcast on television but closed to the public. Among those scheduled for performances are Kelly Clarkson, Dolly Parton, and Earth, Wind & Fire.In the days following the lighting until the early part of January, those wishing to take a look at the tree will have to follow a host of rules.The plaza where the tree is physically located will be closed to the public; instead, there will be specific tree-viewing zones on the midtown Manhattan blocks on either side.Visitors will join a virtual line, and can get text messages to let them know when it's their turn. At that point, they will be directed to specific pods, each of which can hold four people, to look at the tree. There will be a five-minute limit to tree-viewing.Of course, everyone will have to be wearing masks and maintain social distance. Entrance to the skating rink and retail will be separate.The restricted approach is a necessary one, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this week. “It will be limited, the number of people that can get close. This is what we got to do to protect everyone."Workers at Rockefeller Center first put up a tree in 1931. It became an annual tradition starting in 1933. This year's tree came from Oneonta, in central New York.The Associated Press
Two executives at a company involved in a failed COVID-19 vaccine partnership with Canada are also involved in a controversial Chinese government recruitment program. Jasmine Pazzano explains.
Imagine watching your brain activity on a computer screen in real time.For Gord Luke, a Wawa, Ont., resident with Parkinson's disease, that's now a reality. Sitting in a room at the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto's west end, the 66-year-old can see his brain signals being tracked digitally, thanks to surgically implanted electrodes in his brain and a newly approved device in his chest.Building on decades-old technology known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), which can help control the shakes and muscle tightness tied to brain disorders such as Parkinson's, the device puts a new high-tech tool in physicians' tool kits: the ability to capture brain activity of DBS patients such as Luke around the clock."We can actually stream live from his brain," said Krembil neurologist Dr. Alfonso Fasano.As Fasano fiddles with the laptop, his patient's sturdy frame is still, with the electrode stimulation keeping his symptoms at bay.WATCH | What it's like to live stream you brain:Controlling symptoms in real timeWith a couple of clicks, Fasano tweaks the level of stimulation from the electrode in the right hemisphere of Luke's brain, and he quickly starts shaking — his left foot is tapping up and down involuntarily. With another tweak, his foot is back firmly on the ground.The short-term hope, according to Fasano and his colleague, neurosurgeon Dr. Suneil Kalia, is that patients will be able keep a digital diary of their symptoms, which physicians can match up to the ongoing log of their brain activity. "Physicians can later look at that brain diary to see when symptoms were severe or better and fine-tune their therapy," Kalia said.In Luke's case, Fasano hopes he'll eventually be able to adjust the settings on the device from the comfort of his own home, in consultation with his medical team by phone, from thousands of kilometres away."We can record for days, months, the different signals in the brain," Fasano said. "This will be, like never before, a window into their activities."The personalized treatments that follow could help alleviate symptoms for years on end, according to Fasano and Kalia.Approved by Health Canada in October, the Percept PC deep brain stimulation system was developed by Medtronic, a Dublin-based medical technology company.Working alongside surgically implanted brain electrodes, the small, pacemaker-like device is placed under the skin of a patient's chest, which sends electrical signals through thin wires to a targeted area of the brain and offers real-time recording.Patients with brain disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson's tend to see symptom improvements once their DBS electrode implants are turned on. With the chest and brain implants working in tandem, physicians can now see exactly what's happening inside their patients' brains when that switch is flipped.WATCH | Using an MRI to monitor a patient's brain activity and responses:Automatic adjustments may one day be possiblePreviously, medical teams could only track those signals during brain surgery, according to Kalia."What this new device allows is whether it's the first day after surgery or even five years after the surgery, we can interrogate the device," he said.Through ongoing research, Fasano says, the technology may lead to "adaptive stimulation" in the longer term, where the device adjusts the level of stimulation automatically.It's a bit like a smart home thermostat. At first, those high-tech temperature controls require a homeowner to adjust the settings manually. Too cold in the morning? Crank up the heat. Too hot by the afternoon? Turn it back down.Over time, as the technology learns someone's patterns and preferences, the thermostat can start making those adjustments on its own — regulating the temperature and keeping people inside the house comfortable automatically.Kalia said that's a lot like how the implants could one day regulate — or even predict and ward off — symptoms, including seizures and tremors. The first three Canadians underwent surgery to install their new smart technology this fall, and there are more to come.WATCH | What the Percept PC deep brain stimulation system allows doctors to do:'Like being with them all the time'Though wary at first of having the procedure, Luke said he jumped at the chance to try the new device in November. His Parkinson's symptoms have worsened over the last six years."Your muscles tighten up, everything shakes, you shuffle more than walk, you're prone to falls," he said. "It really changes your life, big time."Speaking to CBC News outside his downtown Toronto hotel, he said the day before his medical team at Krembil turned on the electrode, he was barely able to walk. Now, much of his shaking and unsteadiness has subsided. Driving a car, spending more time outdoors, and carving wooden animal figurines are all pastimes Luke plans to pursue back home in Wawa. It's not a cure, to be clear. But it offers Luke, who's a 10-hour drive from the Krembil specialists, a way to manage his disease's progression with fewer trips to Toronto and log a treasure trove of data for his medical team at the same time.Fasano says that's a welcome change from the small glimpses of someone's life physicians typically get when patients like Luke visit, which can't possibly capture their day-to-day symptoms and flare-ups. "It will be like being with them all the time," he said.
Ethiopia and the United Nations agreed on Wednesday to channel desperately-needed humanitarian aid to the northern region of Tigray, where a month of war is believed to have killed thousands of combatants and civilians. Federal troops have been battling the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and have captured the regional capital Mekelle, and the pact announced by U.N. officials will allow relief into government-controlled areas of Tigray. The Ethiopian conflict has forced more than 45,000 refugees to flee into Sudan, displaced many more within Tigray and worsened suffering in a region where 600,000 people already depended on food aid even before hostilities broke out on Nov.4.
Nine-year-old Bedahbun 'Bee' Moonias can't bring herself to drink the running water in her Thunder Bay, Ont., hotel room. "Since we can't drink the tap water back in Neskantaga, I'm scared to use the tap water here to drink it," Moonias said. "So I use water bottles."Moonias has spent her whole life worrying about the water flowing from her faucets back home in Neskantaga First Nation, a remote fly-in Ontario community about 450 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.Neskantaga has the longest-duration boil water advisory of any reserve in the country — 25 years and counting."Sometimes, I feel like we don't exist," Moonias said. "Like, nobody knows that we don't have no clean water. Like, we're just ghosts and we're just put in a drawer, in a box."Moonias and nearly 300 other Neskantaga members have been staying at the Victoria Inn Hotel in Thunder Bay since an oily sheen was detected in their reservoir on Oct. 19 and running water was shut off.Before the film was deemed non-toxic, its discovery left residents with a choice: go without water or evacuate during a pandemic. They decided the safest option was to pack their bags.Now, more than 40 days later, the evacuation is taking a toll, but community members say they are determined to maintain some kind of normal life away from home until clean drinking water starts flowing in Neskantaga for the first time this century.At chief and council's request, all the rooms at the Victoria Inn are being rented by the federal government for Neskantaga members to protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic.Inside the hotel's front doors, visitors are screened through temperature checks and questions about symptoms.Elder Laura Sakanee spends her days sitting in her wheelchair, watching people come and go."We miss our home so badly," Sakanee said. "We just left everything in there, even our moose meat. And I filled up my freezer before we left."'Really disruptive' for studentsOne of the hotel's ballrooms has been turned into a classroom for Moonias and another nine-year-old named Jayla Troutlake. One recent afternoon saw them learning to sew Christmas stockings as a cellphone played "O Little Town of Bethlehem."When asked if she is having fun in her new temporary home, Troutlake answered without hesitation: "No."Troutlake said she misses her home and her dog Gizmo, one of roughly 80 dogs left behind in Neskantaga.The dogs are being fed by the Canadian Rangers, who are also gathering wood for the few band members who have agreed to stay behind to keep the houses warm.Troutlake's teacher Miko Oyakawa is tired of hotel living as well. At first, she said, she tried to get her students to pretend they were on a field trip. She would bring in different types of fruits and vegetables they can't get back home."I remember kids looking at peppers and thinking they're plastic," Oyakawa said. "Pomegranate was by far the favourite."But more than a month into this extended field trip, she said, it's becoming harder to stay isolated, both physically and emotionally. So she tries to maintain a sense of normality with daily lessons and activities."For everyone, it's been really disruptive," Oyakawa said."Kids are staying up really late. Families are going out … Some people are just not sending their kids to school, so it's hard that way, but we're trying the best we can"Oyakawa is also making preparations in case they have to spend the holidays at the hotel. She said the Matawa Tribal Council and people in Thunder Bay have reached out already to donate Christmas trees and fill wish lists for the children."All this generosity is so great and touching," she said. "That gives us hope and keeps us going."'You can't leave your homeland'When can Neskantaga's residents go home? Band councillor Gary Quisess said he can't offer an answer. The tentative return date has changed several times. The latest estimate is Dec. 15 at the earliest. Quisess said he is skeptical. Two weeks of water tests must take place before anyone can return. Deficiencies discovered at the water treatment plant have delayed the start of those tests. A report from the Ontario Clean Water Agency last month found numerous problems at the plant, including leaks, mislabelled piping and tags missing from almost all items of equipment.The community is now drafting the terms of reference for a third-party investigation with the federal government of Neskantaga's 25-year-long water crisis, and of the business practices of the contractors, engineers and project management firms that have worked on Neskantaga's water system and those of other First Nations.Chief and council were asked to sign off on a draft version of the terms of reference last month by the Ontario regional director general for Indigenous Services Canada. Those terms of reference were not developed with the community's consent and the regional director general was taken off the community's repatriation file."This investigation is going to open a can of worms," Quisess said."We want Canadians to know the full story. We want Canadians to know how the tax dollars are used."Neskantaga's plant was built in 1993 and has never adequately treated and disinfected water.A long-term drinking water advisory was put in place on Feb. 1, 1995, less than two years after the plant was commissioned. It's been in effect ever since. As part of its fiscal update, released this week, the federal government is proposing to spend $1.5 billion this year and $114.1 million per year afterwards to speed up work on lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations, and fund water and wastewater infrastructure.But money isn't the issue in Neskantaga. The Liberal government already earmarked $8.8 million to upgrade Neskantaga's water treatment plant in 2016. The work was supposed to be completed by 2018, but the project has run into a cascade of delays and the budget has doubled to more than $16 million.Despite all the problems, Quisess said he doesn't want to live anywhere else. "You can't leave your homeland," Quisess said. "We were born and raised there. Our ancestors lived there."'Trying to celebrate Christmas here'Charla Moonias, walking a support worker's Pomeranian down the hotel hallways, tried to maintain a sense of optimism."It's been really hard to get motivated to come down here because this isn't our normal," she said."I don't feel optimistic about it. I feel like we're going to be here until the new year. I already picture us trying to celebrate Christmas here."Moonias said she spends her days binge-watching TV shows, ordering food and — when she finds the strength — going downstairs to the common rooms to meet with people.Moonias said she used to deal with substance abuse issues herself and it's been a struggle to live at the hotel."It's taking a toll on my depression, my mental health, my addictions," she said. "I'm really struggling to stay away from all the bad influences and bad people."Moonias was born in Winnipeg and started living in Neskantaga after she was adopted by Chief Chris Moonias.In 2016, Moonias met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of a youth delegation from Northern Ontario First Nations pressing for clean drinking water in Neskantaga. She said her skin used to break out into blisters after showering with Neskantaga's water.Now, she wonders whether taking the community's case to Trudeau accomplished anything."I went there feeling hopeful … I'm now 23," she said. "Where's the change?"'See how it feels'Bee Moonias is now being raised by her grandparents, who also live without clean tap water."I don't want to go through what my grandpa has been through 25 years ago," Moonias said. "Go live in Neskantaga and see how it feels getting no clean water. You're welcome to sit in my house. Stay in my house."The federal government has said repeatedly it is committed to ensuring Neskantaga has a source of clean running water.But even at the tender age of 9, Moonias doesn't have much faith in Ottawa's promises."I would be shook if they fixed the water really properly," she said.
It only took two days after its launch for the chess drama The Queen's Gambit to make it into Netflix's top 10 most-viewed series — and it hasn't budged since.It has since become the streaming giant's biggest scripted limited series to date, but the show's popularity isn't confined to the screen. Chess enthusiasts believe it's bringing more people to the game and making it more accessible to a group that, historically, has been largely shut out of it — women."After the series came out on Netflix, you could feel the buzz around the club," said Steve Sklenka, president of the Calgary Chess Club. Though COVID-19 restrictions have forced the club's physical location to temporarily close, that hasn't stopped the inquiries. "We have [people] buying memberships online even though we're closed."According to Sklenka, the interest is the most he's seen since 1972, when American chess champion Bobby Fischer played Russian grandmaster Boris Spassky in a match that became a worldwide sensation. Now, Sklenka is fielding daily calls and emails from people asking when the club will reopen. Sklenka isn't the only one to notice a resurgence in interest. According to marketing firm NPD Group, U.S. sales of chess sets rose by 87 per cent in the weeks following the show's debut in late October, while chess book sales jumped more than 600 per cent. An executive at a major U.S. games company told NPR their sales jumped 1,000 per cent as fans around the world connected with the series."It is an international show with an international cast that is dealing with one of the more universal, quote unquote, sports or pastimes or hobbies," said Daniel Feinberg, a TV critic for Hollywood Reporter.WATCH | 'I've made older boys cry' — chess stars on the world of The Queen's Gambit:While chess is played around the world, Feinberg argued other potential pastimes — like football, baseball or hockey — wouldn't connect with international audiences quite as successfully. "Chess really doesn't know any boundaries, so everybody gets to feel some level of connection and they get to understand it on whatever level they do." Sklenka said the show has had another benefit as well."It's a good thing for chess andit's a good thing for female players," Sklenka said, "because it adds a lot of exposure that just wasn't there before." Show's male players depicted as 'too nice'The Queen's Gambit follows the life of orphan and chess prodigy Beth Harmon (portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy) as she rises to become the greatest player in the world. In reality, there has never been a female chess world champion, although many have played at an extremely high level.That includes Judit Polgár, a Hungarian player and the sole woman to be ranked among the top 10 players in the world. In 2005, Polgár became the first woman to play for the world championship title. After watching Harmon's journey in The Queen's Gambit, Polgár had one reaction to the depiction of the male players."They were too nice to her," she told the New York Times.Polgár's experience echoes that of Canadian chess champion Qiyu Zhou. The 20-year-old University of Toronto economics and statistics major has been playing chess since she was four and currently holds the title of Woman Grandmaster. Zhou says she has faced male players who don't take her seriously. "I've made older boys cry because I beat them ... and they're like, 'How did I lose to, like, a six-year-old or a five-year-old?'"Growing up in Finland, Zhou played in "open" sections in tournaments, for all genders, as there simply weren't other girls to compete against. Though she was successful — becoming the youngest-ever winner at the Finnish National Chess Championship, at age five — Zhou said the isolation can push younger players away."If I was a really young girl playing chess but there is nobody around me to be friends with me, would I really want to keep playing the game? Not necessarily," she said. "We're all social people, I believe, especially when we're younger — making friends is a really key part."Earlier this year, Zhou signed with the U.S.-based esports organization Counter Logic Gaming after her popularity as a chess streamer grew on the video game streaming platform Twitch.Zhou said she continues to face sexism in the chess world. She frequently gets online comments about how she dresses or acts — comments she said would not be levelled at male counterparts. WATCH | The Queen's Gambit trailer:"I guess people just have an opinion of what a female chess player should be like, and they really want to push that on girls," Zhou said.'Most of the top streamers are male'Andrea Botez, another Canadian chess streamer, said that even now, gender is often an "obstacle" for women. "Most of the top streamers are male, and if there are females ... there's always people saying you only get attention because you're attractive, not because you're good at the game," Botez said.Like Polgár, Botez believes The Queen's Gambit "toned down" the sexism in the chess world, but said it has also strengthened the sport. Its popularity on Netflix and social media isn't just bringing more people to chess, she said — it's bringing younger people. "The most important audience is the teen audience," Botez said. "They're watching Netflix. On social media, it's very popular on TikTok and stuff. And I think that's very important for the growth [of] chess."For Zhou, the question of why The Queen's Gambit has drawn so much attention has an easy answer. "There's always been an intrigue about chess… but it always takes a little bit of pop culture and mainstream media to push it to that point where everybody is like, 'We can actually play this game, and have a lot of fun playing it,'" she said."I'm not fully surprised, but I've always thought that chess is, you know, an art, a science and a sport, all in one."
Joshua Wong, 24, one of Hong Kong's most prominent democracy activists, was jailed on Wednesday for more than 13 months over an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019, the toughest and most high-profile sentence for an opposition figure this year. Wong's sentence comes as critics say the Beijing-backed government is intensifying a crackdown on Hong Kong's opposition and chipping away at wide-ranging freedoms guaranteed after the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, a charge authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong reject. Reacting to the court ruling, Britain's foreign minister Dominic Raab urged Hong Kong and Beijing authorities to stop their campaigns to stifle the opposition.
The Rainbow District School Board reported a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the preschool room at the daycare at Algonquin Road Public School on Tuesday. All staff and the parents/guardians of children who are required to self-isolate have been notified, and Public Health Sudbury & Districts will follow up directly with close contacts. “Public Health has advised the service provider that there is no evidence of transmission at this time,” said the Rainbow District School Board in a letter to parents. “The daycare remains open and the before and after school programs continue to operate. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting will take place throughout the school, including the daycare, before classes begin this morning.” Although the school does not operate the daycare, the school board wanted to inform parents/guardians of the situation. At this time, there has been no Public Health direction related to the school as a result of the confirmed case at the daycare. Parents/guardians are reminded to screen their children daily for symptoms of COVID-19 using the screening tool on the school board's website at www.rainbowschools.ca. Anyone who is sick must stay home. It is also important to continue to follow COVID-19 prevention measures. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face, practice physical distancing, and wear a face covering, especially when physical distancing cannot be maintained. For more information about COVID-19 or the measures taken to address COVID-19, visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 or contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705-522-9200 ext. 524. “As always, we will monitor our school population closely for any signs of COVID-19, remain vigilant, and follow any guidance that we may receive from Public Health,” said the school board. “Thank you for working together to keep everyone safe.” Also Tuesday, Public Health Sudbury & Districts reported two new cases of COVID-19 in its service area on Tuesday. Both cases are located in Greater Sudbury, and the individuals are currently self-isolating. One of the individuals was a close contact of a confirmed case, and the other one’s exposure category was not specified because the information is either pending or missing. No other information about the confirmed cases was provided. Two more cases have now been resolved in Public Health’s service area, bringing the total number of active cases to 9. There are two active COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes in Sudbury. An outbreak was declared at Extendicare Falconbridge on Nov. 23 and Extendicare York on Nov. 24. Visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 for more information or call the health unit at 705-522-9200. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
It was inevitable that the federal government's handling of COVID-19 vaccines would become political. Politics has shaped public perceptions of the pandemic's severity since it began.But now the vaccines themselves are becoming politically polarized, with divisions emerging between those who want them and those who don't.Since the spring, polls have shown consistently that one of the major factors associated with how Canadians view the pandemic is how they vote. Supporters of the Liberals and New Democrats have been more likely to report concerns about the public health risks of COVID-19, while Conservative voters have been more likely to eschew precautions and oppose restrictions.Polling conducted by a number of firms in November — as cases across the country continued to rise — still showed signs of this split between left and right in Canada.The latest survey by Léger for the Association of Canadian Studies suggests that only 12 per cent of Liberal voters want to ease pandemic restrictions as soon as possible — even if another wave is possible early in the new year — while 31 per cent of Conservative voters say they want governments to ease up.The poll also found that 52 per cent of Conservative voters are very or somewhat afraid of contracting COVID-19, compared to 66 per cent of New Democratic voters and 74 per cent of Liberal supporters.A recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) found that between 87 and 89 per cent of Canadians who voted for the Liberals, NDP or Bloc Québécois in last year's election report regularly wearing masks indoors; 71 per cent of Canadians who voted for the Conservatives reported doing the same.WATCH | Erin O'Toole vs. Trudeau on vaccine planAnd Liberal, NDP and Bloc voters were about twice as likely as Conservative supporters to list COVID-19 as one of their top three issues of concern.When asked how governments should prioritize their responses to the pandemic, Conservatives were about twice as likely as Liberals to tell a recent survey for Abacus Data that there has been "too little emphasis on limiting the impact on jobs, income and the economy" — and more than three times as likely to say there has been "too much emphasis on limiting the health risk."We've seen proof of these political attitudes in how Canadians voted in October's provincial elections in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The New Democrats (the main left-of-centre party in both provinces) did significantly better among voters who cast ballots by mail — and avoided crowds by doing so — than among those who voted in person. Right-of-centre parties in both provinces did much better in the in-person voting.The polarization of immunizationSince attention has turned to vaccines, the Conservatives in Ottawa have focused their attacks on the federal government's plan to acquire and distribute the vaccines in this country. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has claimed that Canada will be "near the back of the line," though vaccines are expected to start arriving in early 2021.But this week's Léger poll suggests a minority of Canadians share O'Toole's concern. While the poll suggests 37 per cent of Canadians are worried Canada might not get the vaccine at the same time as the United States and the United Kingdom — where the vaccines are produced — 48 per cent said they are "not that concerned" and feel "a few months won't make much of a difference."It's hard not to see partisanship behind some of this, as the Léger poll suggests Conservative voters are the ones most likely to be concerned about delays — and the ones least likely to say they would take the first vaccine made available to the public.This is in part because many Canadians harbour doubts about potential COVID-19 vaccines.A recent Ipsos/Global News poll suggested that 71 per cent of Canadians feel nervous about a vaccine being created and approved so quickly. A similar share of those surveyed said they are concerned about long-term side-effects.On average, polls conducted by Abacus, ARI and Léger suggest only 34 per cent of Canadians would get immunized as soon as possible, while 41 per cent said they would wait a little before getting the needle. Between 11 and 15 per cent of those polled said they would not get vaccinated at all.Conservatives more likely to wait or avoid vaccinationThere is certainly a level of distrust among Conservative voters specific to the Trudeau government. According to Léger, about half of Conservative voters believe that the current federal government is withholding information about vaccines. Only 15 per cent of Liberal voters feel the same way.This trust (or lack of it) could have an impact on Canadians' willingness to get vaccinated. In the ARI, Abacus and Léger surveys, an average of just 27 per cent of Conservative voters said they would get vaccinated as soon as possible, compared to 43 per cent of Liberals and 39 per cent of New Democrats.WATCH | Procurement minister says government is 'putting the puzzle' together for vaccine distributionAn average of 84 per cent of Liberal voters and 79 per cent of New Democrats said they would get vaccinated either right away or eventually, compared to 69 per cent of Conservatives. The number who said they won't get vaccinated averaged just five per cent of the sample among Liberal supporters and nine per cent among New Democrats, but rises to 19 per cent among Conservative voters.The potential public health risk of this polarization could be mitigated if the federal government revealed a detailed plan for the acquisition and distribution of vaccines. Statements of support for such a plan from conservative premiers — some of whom have echoed O'Toole's attacks recently — also could help to reduce this partisan split before vaccine doses start arriving.Will that happen? The answer might depend on how much partisanship is running through Canadians' veins right now.
Pfizer and BioNTech say they've won permission Wednesday for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science -- and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.The move makes Britain one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population as it tries to curb Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.Other countries aren’t far behind: The U.S. and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer shot along with a similar vaccine made by competitor Moderna Inc.Pfizer said it would immediately begin shipping limited supplies to the U.K. -- and has been gearing up for even wider distribution if given a similar nod by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a decision expected as early as next week.But doses everywhere are scarce, and initial supplies will be rationed until more is manufactured in the first several months of next year.Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called the U.K. decision “a historic moment.”“We are focusing on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world,” Bourla said in a statement.While the U.K. has ordered enough Pfizer vaccine for 20 million people, it’s not clear how many will arrive by year’s end and adding to the distribution challenges is that it must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.Two doses three weeks apart are required for protection. First in line, the U.K. government says, are frontline health care workers and nursing home residents, followed by older adults.British regulators also are considering another shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned “we must first navigate a hard winter” of restrictions to try to curb the virus until there’s enough vaccine to go around.Every country has different rules for determining when an experimental vaccine is safe and effective enough to use. Intense political pressure to be the first to roll out a rigorously scientifically tested shot colored the race in the U.S. and Britain, even as researchers pledged to cut no corners. In contrast, China and Russia have offered different vaccinations to their citizens ahead of late-stage testing.The shots made by U.S.-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech were tested in tens of thousands of people. And while that study isn’t complete, early results suggest the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease. The companies told regulators that of the first 170 infections detected in study volunteers, only eight were among people who’d received the actual vaccine and the rest had gotten a dummy shot.“This is an extraordinarily strong protection,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s CEO, recently told The Associated Press.The companies also reported no serious side effects, although vaccine recipients may experience temporary pain and flu-like reactions immediately after injections.But experts caution that a vaccine cleared for emergency use is still experimental and the final testing must be completed. Still to be determined is whether the Pfizer-BioNTech shots protect against people spreading the coronavirus without showing symptoms. Another question is how long protection lasts.The vaccine also has been tested in only a small number of children, none younger than 12, and there’s no information on its effects in pregnant women.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press
Seven works by late Quebec artist Jean Paul Riopelle are among the big-ticket items on offer at Heffel Fine Art Auction House's virtual live auction tonight.Leading the Toronto auction house's fall sale is Riopelle's 1953 canvas "Sans titre," which comes with a pre-sale price tag of $1.2 million and $1.8 million.Also among the highlights is "La ligne d'eau," a large-scale work from Riopelle's "Iceberg" series, which auctioneers project could fetch between $800,000 and $1.2 million.Heffel says Canadian painter Alex Colville's 1987 "Woman with Revolver" will hit the auction block for the first time for an estimated value of $600,000 to $800,000.The fall catalogue features several sought-after works associated with Canada's famed Group of Seven, including three lots by founding member Lawren Harris.Heffel says each of the Harris works depicts a different facet of Canada's variegated landscape, including the 1924 oil-on-board "Pyramid Mt., Jasper Park," which is estimated to be worth $200,000 and $300,000.Group of Seven member Frederick Varley's portrait of his muse, Vera Weatherbie, in "Green and Gold, Portrait of Vera" is expected to garner between $500,000 and $700,000.Heffel says it's presenting another auction first in "Steamer Arriving at Nanaimo" by B.C. painter E.J. Hughes, who counted Harris and Varley among his mentors. The auction house is anticipating bids for the 1950 canvas will range from $500,000 to $700,000.Two portraits from B.C. artist Emily Carr, "Susan" and "Old Man," are set to hammer down for between $80,000 and $120,000 apiece.Other standout offerings include a couple of works from Canadian artist Jack Bush. "Blue Stant" is forecasted to fetch between $500,000 and $650,000, while "Stumblin' All Around" has been valued between $125,000 and $175,000.In total, Heffel says that the more than 100 works up for sale could collectively bring in between $10 million and $15 million.Collectors will be able to place their offers through telephone, absentee and online bidding tonight. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
In mid-August, the laboratory doing COVID-19 testing at St. Paul's hospital in Vancouver was facing a problem: the reagent required to carry out the tests was in short supply. "There was a lack of availability," said Dr. Daniel Holmes, director of pathology and laboratory medicine at the hospital. "Without the reagent — the chemicals that go into it — it's like having a car without gasoline."So Holmes and his team at the lab turned to a trick used in virology; they began working on a way to pool test samples together.The idea was to combine the samples from four patients — a number determined by the positivity rate they were finding at the St. Paul's lab, between three and seven per cent."If you have a whole bunch of samples and most of them test negative for a disease, you can mix all of the samples together, and if the mix tests negative, then you can infer that all of the samples that went into the mix must be negative," explained Holmes.The idea was simple enough, but the task of automating the process with a robotic machine and computer code took a while.Holmes said it wasn't until Sept. 20 that the system was ready for its first live run — just as the second wave of the pandemic began to ramp up."The robot ... scans all the barcodes, it tells the server which specimens are in which well, and in the end, it reports out all the negatives," he said.The four samples in the pools that test positive have to then be tested individually, so if the positivity rate increases, the method becomes inefficient.Holmes said he was getting anxious as positivity rates climbed in recent weeks, but so far they've been able to continue mixing samples at St. Paul's.The technique has eased the workload on staff at the lab, as well as getting four times as many tests out of the reagent used for the pooled samples, said Holmes, noting that the lab typically does about 40 per cent of its daily tests — which range from 1,000 to 1,700 per day — using the pooling technique.As well as effectively reducing the required resources, mixing samples hastens the time it takes to process most patients' tests, though Holmes said there's a three-hour wait if a pool needs to be tested again as individual samples."If they are one of the people who's fortunate enough to have a negative test, their result is going to come back to them, somewhere between three and 10 hours earlier," he said.Do you have more to add to this story? Email email@example.comFollow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker